Retrieving the lander
In the years that have elapsed since the Apollo programme, people have forgotten the scale of what the S-IVB was designed to achieve. There is little appreciation of the difference between low Earth orbit and the reaches of space to which this engine took the Apollo crews. In any case, many fail to understand the relative scale of the Earth-Moon system. I once gave a talk to schoolchildren about the Moon and used the popular method of scaling the solar system down to what our minds can handle. As props, along with a model of the Saturn V launch vehicle and some good photographs, I took my own model of the Earth-Moon system. Earth was represented by a 20-centimetre globe that I had been given some years earlier. The Moon was represented by a lucky find I made during a visit to the holy grail of aerospace memorabilia: the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, in the USA. While browsing the museum’s gift shop, I had come across a 5-centimetre-diameter foam ball, grey and pockmarked with craters, that perfectly matched the scale of my globe of the Earth, as the Moon’s diameter is very nearly one-quarter that of Earth.
KeywordsService Module Moon System Mission Control Docking System Command Module
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